Ukraine on “the brink of disaster” warns PM

Putin authorises military action as a Ukrainian admiral jumps ship

The situation in Ukraine continues to spiral out of control. Yesterday, Rear Admiral Denys Beresovskij switched sides and proclaimed his loyalty to Sergei Aksenov, the self-proclaimed pro-Russian prime minister of Crimea. Just one day before, Beresovskij had been appointed head of the Ukrainian Navy.

Russian forces have moved into the Black Sea peninsula and told forces loyal to Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk to surrender and lay down their arms. Unidentified gunmen believed to be Russian have gained control of the state buildings, including airports, in Crimea, a Black Sea peninsula where ethnic Russians are the majority and Moscow has a naval base.

Yatsenyuk’s government has now charged Beresovskij with treason.

“On the brink of disaster”
Yatsenyuk warned that his country was on the "brink of disaster" and accused Russia of declaring war on Ukraine.

"If President Putin wants to be the president who started a war between two neighbouring and friendly countries, he has reached his target within a few inches. We are on the brink of a disaster," he told reporters yesterday after Russia's parliament approved the use of military force on Ukraine.

NATO secretary-general and former Danish prime minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen warned Moscow it was "threatening peace and security in Europe" with its seizure of Crimea.

"What Russia is doing now in Ukraine violates the principles of the United Nations Charter,” Rasmussen told the media.

READ MORE: Fears it will stay the same in Ukraine
Rather than issue its own statement, the Ukrainian Embassy in Denmark referred to an address given by Yuriy Sergeyev, Ukraine’s UN representative.

“We call upon all members of the United Nations, particularly Security Council members, to do everything possible now to stop aggression by the Russian Federation against Ukraine,” said Sergeyev. “Russian troops have already illegally entered the territory of Ukraine in the Crimea region, planning to expand their military further under the illegal excuse of protecting the Russian-speaking population.”

Sergeyev said that Russia’s actions threatened the stability of the entire region and called on the UN to “protect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine”.